Essays on corporate risk and transition disclosures in the IFRS era

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2013-03-15
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Degree programme
270 s.
Aalto University publication series. DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 35/2013
High-quality narrative communication in corporate financial reports is important to make company reporting more useful to investors. However, standard-setters face a taxing challenge in deciding how these sections in corporate financial reports could be regulated most effectively. The objective of this dissertation is to examine risk and transition disclosures by Finnish listed firms in the IFRS era. It will address whether corporate risk and transition disclosures can be improved by releasing a detailed risk disclosure standard and authoritative disclosure recommendations. Also, the economic consequences of high-quality risk disclosures on stock markets will be examined. Finally, this research examines the non-regulatory determinants of risk and transition disclosures. This research uses positivist research methodology, which is the mainstream methodological avenue in financial accounting research. The main test methods are the standard mean test and the multivariate regression analysis. The sample firms in all essays consist of Finnish listed firms. The disclosure data were manually collected and coded. Data for the other variables were retrieved from the Thomson One Banker Financial, IBES, Worldscope and Datastream databases, or collected manually from the annual reports of the firms or from the register of Euroclear Finland Oy. This dissertation documents that a detailed national risk disclosure standard increases the quality of overall risk reviews in several dimensions. The results also demonstrate that risk disclosure quality associates negatively with information asymmetry. Additionally, it was found that the usefulness of risk disclosures to investors depends on firm riskiness, investor interest and market conditions. Regarding corporate transition disclosure, the results indicate that recommended disclosure has more mandatory characteristics than voluntary disclosure. Moreover, this dissertation documents several significant non-regulatory determinants of risk and transition disclosures such as firm size, profitability, financial leverage, growth prospects, listing on the NYSE, and board independence. The results benefit regulators, managers, investors, and analysts. This dissertation demonstrates for standard-setters such as the IASB, and the FASB, the SEC, and other national regulatory bodies that risk reporting under IFRS can be influenced through a detailed national disclosure standard. The findings suggest that a single legislative provision may not be effective enough to ensure transparent disclosure of abstract issues such as risks. Many managers may need detailed descriptions of the required disclosures with illustrative examples. We also demonstrate that managers react to the CESR (now ESMA) transition disclosure recommendation, which is actively promoted by the Finnish Financial Supervision Authority. Thus, in some cases (for example when urgent disclosure improvements are needed) authoritative disclosure recommendations may be a faster and more cost-efficient way to achieve disclosure improvements than laws or standards
Supervising professor
Kinnunen, Juha, professor
Other note
  • Miihkinen, A. (2012). What Drives Quality of Firm Risk Disclosure? The Impact of a National Disclosure Standard and Reporting Incentives under IFRS. The International Journal of Accounting, 47 (4), 437–468.
  • Miihkinen, A. (2012). The Usefulness of Firm Risk Disclosures under Different Firm-Riskiness, Investor-Interest and Market Conditions. New Evidence from Finland. Unpublished Working Paper, Aalto University School of Business.
  • Miihkinen, A. (2008). Efficiency of Authoritative Disclosure Recommendations: Evidence from IFRS Transition Disclosure in Finland. Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, 16 (4), 384–413.